...I would Dubai you a green dress

(but not a real green dress, that's cruel.)

I've been back in New York for a month now. a whole month- it doesn't feel that long. I feel like I entered a time warp somewhere between sand and swimming and constant stimulation and ended up somehow in December. 
it snowed this past weekend!

just a few weeks ago I was in the United Arab Emirates with Brandon, definitely not cold and definitely not binge-watching Christmas episodes of The Office to try and get into the holiday spirit.

Dubai was where Brandon met up with me and joined me for about 10 days of the trip. we were actually planning to meet in Thailand but the flights were ridiculously long (even for me, coming just from Hungary), so we decided to make a quick stopover at whatever place seemed convenient. that place was Dubai.

even though you'd expect a two-day stopover to be hectic and rushed, Dubai was quite the opposite for us. it felt leisurely and luxurious. I could feel myself relax after two weeks of traveling alone; I slept in, didn't make a schedule, didn't really make plans at all. we kind of let ourselves have a vacation vacation, for once.
I mean, just for two days. but it was enough of a refresher to prepare me for the hustle and bustle of Southeast Asia, which I'll get to soon enough.

the tallest building in the world.

indoor waterfall at the Dubai Mall.

Brandon getting a little taste of home in the Middle East!

I had never really pictured camels at the beach before...

when you have a travel buddy you can get cheesy pictures at JBR beach!

when I say Dubai was "luxurious" I don't mean we pampered ourselves or splurged on fancy things or extravagant meals; we didn't exactly live in the lap of luxury. I mean luxurious in the definition of comfortable and self-indulgent. we wandered through the delightfully over-the-top Dubai Mall, lounged at the beach, and downed free orange juice at the top of Burj Khalifa. no schedules, no crazy sightseeing, no pressure to "experience the real city" (god, I'll address the pretentious nature of that whole idea sometime soon, too).

and we had a great time! Dubai is a vibrant, cheerful, and beautiful city. even though it has a reputation for extravagance and opulence, the city and its people were very welcoming and down-to-earth. everyone was friendly and smiling, and things weren't outrageously expensive like we were led to believe.

there also seems to be a lot of civic pride; every person we talked to, from elevator attendants at Burj Khalifa, to taxi drivers, to tour guides raved about how much they loved living in Dubai. they talked about how clean it was, how little crime, how much they liked the local government. many of these people were immigrants from other parts of Asia or Africa and, while it might sounds silly, it was kind of heartwarming to feel like the city was full of happy people. it made for a very pleasant atmosphere.

the Burj Khalifa looking pretty impressive at night.

my travels switched from European cold to tropical very abruptly.

our camel desert safari friends!

my new friend Caro. 

we got to experience a more traditional side of Dubai on our desert safari evening with Platinum Heritage. they offer "unique, sustainable desert experiences highlighting the local Emirati culture"; Brandon and I did the camel desert safari experience, and it was incredible. I won't go into detail describing all the events and things because you can find that out on their website, but I will say that the staff were wonderful, the activities were awesome and informative, and the food was delicious. the whole thing is a little pricey, but it's a six hour event and so worth it. 

someone told Brandon not to do a desert safari because they were cheesy (and suggested that we go to the clubs instead because clearly this person did not know us very well) but it ended up being our favorite thing that we did!

incidentally, my new favorite color is "sunset in the Arabian desert." see below for details.   

a rare photo of Brandon and me together.

a sunset falconry demonstration!

a traditional Emirati dance for after-dinner entertainment (this was the only shot that wasn't a blur because the whole dance involves enthusiastically whipping your hair back and forth).

the traditional bedouin camp where we spent the evening.

Caro looking snappy in the Arabian sunset.

it was a short visit to the Middle East but I think we made the most of it. I would definitely recommend a visit to the UAE. it's exotic and modern at the same time. Dubai is a frenetic city and everything is manmade and shiny and "the biggest in the world"- seriously they have so many records for the biggest whatever in the world- but then you can drive into the desert and learn about falconry and eat in a tent and look at the stars. there really is something for everyone.

it's also worth noting that, even though I was with my husband at this point in my trip, Dubai is known for being very safe for solo female travelers. I got that sense too, even though I wasn't alone.

in conclusion, there are a few things I can definitely recommend:
- Platinum Heritage desert experiences. 
- Dubai Mall. it has an indoor waterfall, an aquarium, access to the Burj Khalifa, the world's biggest fountain, and it's insanely pretty. plus, air conditioning!
- Uber. it's too crazy hot to walk, and while public transit runs to the main attractions (read: malls) it's faster and just as cheap to take a car. plus, air conditioning! 
- Burj Khalifa. it's much nicer than other typical "top of the building" experiences. you get snacks and drinks, and there are lots of comfy chairs and lounges where you can hang out and take in the view. which is spectacular, by the way. 
- Leila. a Lebanese restaurant with good prices and great food. the bi-jit riz is fantastic.
- the beaches. they're right in the heart of the city and so beautiful. we went to JBR, and it was lovely, but I think Jumeirah beach has better views of the Burj Al Arab (the sailboat building).

happy trails, or whatever!

(note: we used Airbnb for accommodations and it turned out to be a hotel. it was fine; nice, clean, had a pool, nothing to write home about. seemed pretty standard for cheap-ish accommodations in the city.)

briefly in Budapest, back in Brooklyn

well, here I am.
back on the internet, back in the continental United States. feels like a lifetime ago I stuffed everything I could into two carryons and took an overnight flight to Iceland.

22 flights, 14 countries, 18 cities, five continents, two embassy visits, one police report, and about a dozen sunburns later, and I am back in Brooklyn with my cat and my tv and my slowly deteriorating motivation to ever leave my apartment.

turns out blogging while traveling at a rate of one international flight every three days is not the easiest thing to commit to. once the occasional disaster starting popping up every couple days/minutes I figured I’d err on the side of sanity and put more spare time towards things like sleep and enjoyment.

I know, how dare I?! whilst you were waiting patiently for my updates.

turns out stuff like night market tours of Ho Chi Minh and swimming at Waikiki beach are much more fun than editing a bajillion photos in a dingy hostel dorm room.

but, since it is long overdue, here are a few notes and ramblings about my short stay in Budapest, Hungary.

lovely Fisherman's Bastion.

the view of the Danube & Parliament from Castle Hill.

Budapest's own "Lady Liberty" high above the city.

Budapest was pretty and pleasant and had an air of mystery about it. it’s very much how I pictured typical “Eastern Europe” in my head; ornate architecture, cozy taverns, hearty food, and hearty people. lots of dark haired men with beer bellies and acid-washed jeans and thin pretty women smoking cigarettes.

but to be honest I don’t feel like I can give any assessment or description of Budapest that would be fair or accurate. any significant cultural experience of the city was overshadowed by meeting up with my friends Christina and Adrian, which was by far the most fun part of my brief visit!

unfortunately my camera was being as moody and mysterious as its surroundings and so the only photo I have to prove we actually saw each other is this one, that actually looks more like a bad photoshop job. so it really isn’t much proof at all, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.


the three of us did a free walking tour together in the afternoon because- thank goodness- they are just as nerdy and touristy as I am. I don't see the problem with being "touristy" anyways. people are so snooty about it; "don't go there it's so touristy," "that part of town is so touristy," "oh you only did the touristy stuff." always said with such derision. I got news for you, people- when you're traveling, you are a tourist. and those things are usually touristy for a good reason.

well, anyway.

we had a lovely afternoon exploring and chatting and catching up. Christina and I went to journalism school together and we've both moved many times since then, always ending up on opposite sides of oceans or countries (you'd think we really didn't like each other). but now it's years later and we just casually hang out in Eastern Europe. no big deal.
can't wait to see where we meet up next!

a sampling of lovely Budapest architecture (the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).

the difficult-to-fit-all-in-one-picture Matthias Church.

Buda Castle Labyrinth; Dracula was held prisoner here, apparently before he had the ability to transform into mist and such.

just me. and Parliament. 

the walking tour itself was nice enough- no complaints, especially since it was free. it provided a pretty good overview of the city's history and offered some lovely views. (you can check out the same tour here). afterwards our little party ventured into Budapest's famous "ruin pubs" where we tried Hungary's spirit of choice- Palinka- and sat sipping beer in an old car that was turned into a booth.

let me tell you, Palinka is no joke. it smelled like jet fuel and made it hard to say whether these bars are named more for their rustic decor or the state tourists are in when they leave them.

of course we three behaved ourselves and called it a night after one little shot because we are mature and classy and not because it was Sunday and all the pubs we tried to go to after were closed...

Szimpla Kert, a quintessential ruin pub.

Lenin greets you as you arrive at Memento Park.

Sarah for scale.
I didn't particularly want to mimic the statue, but my guest photographer insisted...

my solo adventures in Budapest were slightly less exciting.

I paid a visit to Memento Park, which was described somewhat hyperbolically as a "Socialist Disneyland" and was more accurately a sparse garden full of very large Soviet-era statues. it was a interesting, but hardly comparable to any type of amusement park.

I took a tour bus from a town square which was very overpriced considered that the term "tour" was applied very liberally- we were just dropped off at the entrance and left to wander for two and a half hours, which was far too much time. the whole walk around to see every piece took about 20 minutes in total and there was zero information or backstory offered. I sort of saved the experience from being a total bust by searching Trip Advisor for some trip advice, where I learned that the $5 guide book would shed some light on the history of the park and make the whole experience slightly more meaningful. all in all the whole thing cost me about $50 and wasn't worth it, but I did get a few pictures out of it. lemons and lemonade and all that.

the Central Market Hall was also underwhelming and I regretted choosing it over going to the more famous Turkish baths. I did have a big Hungarian lunch and buy a souvenir for a friend, though. so again, lemonade.

I know I don't really have all that much to offer in way of advice or travel tips. all I can say is if you ever find yourself in Budapest for two days just have a wander and enjoy. eat langos, hang out in a ruin pub, take in the architecture...and if my friends are around maybe give them a call and stick with them.

Vienna II: small bites, big city

here, finally, are my last thoughts on Vienna!
in case any of you were unaware, internet in Southeast Asia is ridiculous.
actually internet pretty much everywhere has been awful. I should’ve bought one of those mobile wifi stations. those are things. that would’ve been awesome.

Vienna is elegant. it’s a city known for architecture, music, and art.
you know, boring old rich people stuff.
I can’t picture droves of young people flocking to the city for crazy partying and club scenes (although I’m sure it happens).Vienna seems more sophisticated; people are smartly dressed, sipping coffee or wine at a sidewalk cafe, dressing up for the opera. it’s not stuffy or high brow- just has a feeling of class.

Kohlmarkt Street, one of the oldest & most expensive shopping streets in Europe.

the city from Stephansdom Cathedral.

purple-lit cathedral ceilings, and the pipe organ.

the front garden of the Belvedere Palace.

for a quintessential Vienna experience, the thing to do is check out the symphony, or an opera, or if you’re lucky/crafty enough an actual honest-to-goodness ball. of course because the Viennese are already much classier than us tourists, seated tickets for operas, ballets, and concerts at the State Opera House- the Staatsoper- are always sold out, and crazy expensive. but you can get standing-room tickets for 4 euros on the day of the performance, so naturally I thought that was a must-see for a classy person such as myself.

I waited patiently in line for two hours and got tickets for the ballet Gisele. waited again inside for the show to start, feeling oh-so-superior to the plebs in the standing section with me; to bring shopping bags! to wear jeans! so not classy.
then about ten minutes into the ballet I realized that ballet is boring and I didn’t want to sit through three whole hours of these people tip toeing around on stage to music that was, in my opinion, only meant for lullabies and soothing plants.
silly Sarah. you are not classy!
so I bailed at intermission and went across the street to the famous hot dog stand and bought a giant, spicy wiener and it was amazing.

I’m sure the ballet was lovely, and if you’re a genuinely high-cultured person you would probably love visiting the decadent opera house; but there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like. and I like a spicy wiener.

besides, "wiener" comes from "Wien", which in English is Vienna. so I'm participating in local culture! 

inside the Staatsoper (State Opera).

food for the gods (or just me, give them all to me).

grafitti on the Danube; the hipper side of Vienna?

even though I might not have appreciated some of the pomp and circumstance that Vienna had to offer, I did enjoy the general posh feel of the city. it’s beautiful, and clean, and even getting coffee is a luxurious experience. Vienna fun fact: its cafes have been named “intangible world heritage” by UNESCO. the Viennese are just oozing culture and caffeine.

the cafes were by far my favorite part of the city. and not because of the food, and not even really because of the coffee. there’s just a really great, leisurely atmosphere at a cafe. you mosey in past the sidewalk tables, they tell you to find a seat wherever, then you wait. no one in these places is in a hurry; the waiters will get to you when they get to you, and the patrons don’t rush through their lunch breaks. these people really know how to relax.
and then, also, the coffee usually fantastic.
order a cafe melange- classic Viennese coffee- and watch the world go by for a little.

the famous Sacher Hotel & Cafe.

Sacher Torte, Austria's national dessert.

a cafe at the Naschmarkt.

click "read more" for thoughts & reviews on what I did/saw/ate in Vienna!

a retrospective

. . .

ok, so I'm going out of sequence here with a text-heavy post.
just think of reading my blog as time travel. and it's my timeline, not yours, so you can jump around however you want and the universe won't implode and there won't be any paradoxes etc. etc.
you are now visiting me present day (which incidentally is your future, because time zones are cray, and also my past because there isn't really a present... wibbly wobbly!)
. . .
<3 div="">
today I’m feeling a little proud of myself as a traveler. 

it wasn’t a particularly eventful travel day, and definitely not what I’d call a successful one. but that’s when I really start to feel it in my blood. when, at the end of a rough day, I still feel like it was worth it. the few good moments glow in my memory and outshine the exhaustion, the discomfort, sometimes physical pain. all the bad fades and what remains is good humor and a sense of wonder, at things as simple as pleasant conversation with fellow travelers, or Vietnamese coffee, or the realization that I can get back to my hotel on my own. at the end of the day, I feel satisfied. I’m excited for tomorrow, not dreading it like I do so often when I’m stuck in a routine. 
whatever travel bug bit me was a serious mofo. 

so, here’s the story.
no nutshells, be warned.

today was a bit of a challenge possibly because it was my first day being alone again. Brandon and I went our separate ways yesterday, him heading back to New York and me continuing on to Ho Chi Minh. when you have kind of a rough day and you’re traveling alone, it feels so much worse. I kept thinking that if I was with someone, anyone, at least we could chat, or make light of the situation, or strangers wouldn’t keep coming up to me and trying to give me a ride on their motor bike (no thank you, only Freddie Mercury could pull that off). 

anyway, after arriving in Vietnam yesterday and surviving the grueling immigration process, I got a good night’s sleep and woke up ready to take on the chaos of the city! 
well, I thought I was ready.

Ho Chi Minh is ridiculously confusing. with smartphones and google and the internet it’s been a long time since I’ve been lost in a city, but in Ho Chi Minh it took me about 15 minutes. maybe it would’ve worked out if my phone/data worked in Vietnam, but hey, it doesn’t, so I had to rely on a good old-fashioned map. every street seemed to have the same name, or the same name with a number or letter added, and the side streets had the same name as the main street, and things were not where they were supposed to be! I wandered around for an hour and a half looking for two banh mi places my Airbnb host recommended to no avail; I never did find one of them, and the one I FINALLY stumbled upon didn’t open till 4pm… which I kind of feel like should’ve been mentioned. (and don’t say it’s because it’s street food and that’s an evening thing or whatever because apparently banh mi a common breakfast and this was around lunchtime so HA.)

to make matters worse it was about a thousand degrees and I was completely drenched in sweat and hadn’t even started my day yet. 

the rest of the afternoon I was kind of on autopilot; I walked into the first Vietnamese restaurant I came across that had wifi and had a pretty yummy lunch, even though I had no idea what I was ordering and that bugged me. the AC made me feel a little better. 

I got a cab to the War Remnants museum, which was very intense and shocking and sad, but also informative. kind of a bummer but definitely a must-see, especially if you don’t know much history surrounding the Vietnam war (which I did not). 

the map showed the Reunification Palace about two blocks away, but I ended up walking for another 20 minutes to find the right entrance. then I couldn’t hail a cab, and while Uber is the most recommended way to get around the city it kind of requires an internet connection, so I ended up walking to my next destination. and got even sweatier and hotter and crankier. 

by the time I got to the meeting point for my walking tour (yeah, after spending about five hours walking already) I was dehydrated, had an embarrassing stain on my pants because they were damp with sweat and well, dirt is brown, and my thighs were burning from from unfathomable chub rub (tmi, don't care, it's real). 

my hopes were not high for the evening.
but, as tends to happen when I travel, it ended up being a pretty great time. 

I did an Urban Adventures street food tour and I was in a pretty bad mood at first. I was uncharacteristically quiet and distracted due to my physical discomfort, and just keep thinking that I couldn’t wait to go back to my room and take a shower. but it turns out there were a lot of stops where we could sit along the way, and the actual walking was not so far nor frequent. by the time I sampled a few local specialties, talked myself out of eating balut (couldn’t do it), and ok, yes, had a cold beer; I was really enjoying myself and the company.

I was with a really nice group of people- even met someone who lives pretty close to me in Brooklyn!- and our tour guide was wonderful. we ended the evening at a coffee shop that I never in a million years would have discovered on my own- it was in this incredible, old building with miscellaneous shops, apartments, rooms for rent, big unfinished spaces, just a mish-mash of unique things on every floor. the Vietnamese coffee was, of course, amazing, and we all had a great chat about our travels and plans and homes and it was just… lovely. 

I snagged some wifi, got an Uber back to the neighborhood I started in, and walked confidently back to my Airbnb. 

so here we are. 

I’m not proud of myself because I did a good job today. I’m proud that, in spite of everything, I’m excited for what’s next. it’s about the experience, after all. might be good, might be bad, but either way, it’s an experience that I feel privileged to have. and tomorrow I’ll do better.

and now at least I know where that one banh mi shop is. 

coughing & coffee in Vienna

it feels like ages ago I dragged my beer-soaked, germ-ridden self off the train from Prague and into the elegant streets of Vienna. 

the first two stops on my solo world tour were wonderful, but by their powers combined I was struck down in the prime of lime (not a typo, a very dated pop-culture reference); Reykjavik was far colder than I anticipated, and Prague weakened my immune system with delicious alcohol. 

that's my convoluted way of saying I was miserably sick. 

that's a lot of the reason why I'm behind on my updates; I was guzzling vitamin C and going to bed early while tantalizing anecdotes and wanderlust-inducing photos were patiently waiting to be shared!
but that's the thing about Vienna...
it waits for you. 

oh yeah, I've had that one cookin' for a while. 

even though though I was feeling like garbage physically I still have only the most pleasant memories of the city. it was so calm and leisurely and just a little decadent. if I had to be sick somewhere on this trip, at least Vienna was a decently comfortable place to do it.

without any further ado, here is you photographic introduction to Wien!
reviews and etc. coming soon!

Schloss Belvedere.

a first glimpse Stephansdom Cathedral.

the Holocaust Memorial... the lower statue is a "street cleaning Jew" and represents the hardships Jewish people faced in Vienna even long before WWII.

the Vienna State Opera; I prefer its German title, the Wiener Staatsoper. cause wiener is a funny word.

inside the Staatoper. 
fun fact: the Viennese originally considered this building to be horribly ugly! such delightfully high standards!

Lipizzaner horses in front of the Hofburg Palace.

the view from the North tower of Stephansdom.

inside the cathedral.

Viennese coffee melange at Cafe Korb.

favorite Vienna experience: cafe culture.

can't go to Vienna without seeing some Klimt. 
(and I basically paid 15 euro to see this so I am most definitely posting a picture)

on the terrace of the Albertina. 

just Czeching in

safe to say I am really falling behind on the travel blogging, since this is only my third post, it's about Prague, and I am writing it in Bangkok. 


blame it on the bad internet or the magically disappearing scheduled posts or the crazy sleep deprivation. definitely don't blame my unreliable personality. 
well, here's more Prague!
I promised more architecture shots, and I got bunches of 'em, interspersed with ramblings on what I did while I was there. 

the rambling is symbolic, you see. you can meander confusedly through this post the way one might meander the winding streets of Old Town Prague. 
nailed it.

IMG_5219 IMG_5285 IMG_5226 IMG_5216

I did a LOT of walking in Prague, and an uncharacteristically high amount of walking tours. I'm not always a tour person- I like to plan my days myself and see things at my own pace. but sometimes I do like a walking tour on my first day, like an orientation of sorts, and the hostel offered a free one, so why not, right? I had such a short time in Prague and didn't really know much about the city (I was sans guidebook for once) and after the great experience of that very first tour, I stuck with what worked. 

I did three tours with Good Prague Tours, and let me tell ya, they were more like GREAT Prague Tours!
bet their marketing team couldn't come up with that gold. 

the first free walking tour was a great way to see all the main sights and really get my bearings. our guide was Lucie, and she was fun and informative and super helpful. at the end of the walk you got a discount if you wanted to do more with that company, so I added the Prague Castle tour for a taste of Prague history, and the beer tour for a taste of... well, beer.

for the Castle tour our guide was V (he had a very Czech name and just told us all to call him V) and he was funny and really knew his stuff. touring the Castle seemed better than aimlessly wandering without really knowing what I was looking at, and as a bonus, V brought us to the John Lennon wall at the end. 

IMG_5306 IMG_5322 IMG_5348

for the beer tour our guide was James, and like his aforementioned colleagues he, too, was nice and really knew his stuff. plus he had the added challenge of keeping track of and speaking over about 15 drunk people, so kudos to James. 

people will tell you that beer tours are a waste of money- you can go anywhere and get a beer, just go to the bars, blah blah bah. but what I like about them is that you get a little cultural insight, you get to learn a little, and you get to meet people who have similar interests to you- in particular, traveling and beer. 
it's especially helpful if you're traveling alone and want to both a) experience a little nightlife and b) not be murdered. 
(side note, that was mostly a joke; Prague is extremely safe for ladies traveling alone. I only mean that if you're nervous or also just in general don't fancy drinking alone- which I don't- beer tours are very social!)

with that in mind, I did a second beer tour in Prague. 
Czechs are all about beer, you guys. it's a big deal. I needed to really immerse myself in the culture. completely necessary. 

this one was with Urban Adventures, and was actually very different from the one with Good Prague Tours. this tour had bar snacks included, and the group was smaller and less rowdy- which could be a pro or a con depending on your mood. our guide was Casey, and he took us outside the center of Prague for a different neighborhood experience. I had a great time and enjoyed learning a little about Czech beer culture. plus, the food and beer was fantastic! 

the Good Prague beer tour seemed a little more mainstream and touristy (again, could be a pro or a con) and the crowd was younger and more boisterous. I chatted a lot more with the group, and got more of a Prague "party vibe". great time once again.

overall I'm really glad I chose to do two beer tours, because they were very different experiences. I'd recommend Urban Adventures if you want a more intimate setting, but the vibe definitely depends a lot on the people who end up in your group. Good Prague Tours is more drinking-focused (shots were involved) and seemed to attract younger people (much, much younger than me). but I'm sure the group dynamic varies a little. 

IMG_5270 IMG_5165 IMG_5197 IMG_5365

and that about covers the sightseeing and walking I did in this remarkable city! I haven't filled you in on much else yet, but Prague was definitely my favorite stop in Europe. I had such a fantastic time there- everything was five stars, would see again.

at the end of this post I included a little more info (MORE info Sarah? geez you're a bit of a windbag yeah I know, I know) and reviews of stuff from Prague if you want the specifics (ones that I can remember). 

IMG_5167 IMG_5201 IMG_5192

food & drink stuff:

first off, I'm a big dummy and didn't write down the names of places I ate or drank. mostly because  they were stopovers on one of my bazillion tours, but also because they were written in Czech. I wish I had made better notes, but live and learn! I shall improve!

I do, however, have a few general notes about Czech food and beer that I can share, and hopefully they will guide you to your own delectable discoveries.

- Prague is really rough on vegetarians. they basically eat only meat and dumplings- the only vegetable I had while I was there was cabbage. it was delicious cabbage, but still.
- Czech food is yum, though! it's all very rich and hearty and tasty. don't be afraid to try it!
- goulash is actually a "meat soup," which sounds unappetizing, but tastes fantastic. it's always just a little bit of beef, a lot of liquid on a plate (yep a plate) and huge bread dumplings to soak it up.
- svickova is my favorite Czech dish; beef in cream sauce served with cranberries and... yep, more dumplings.
- nakladany hermelin is the best bar food ever; it's a marinated cheese and comes with Czech bread, which is always fantastic.
- Petnika is the bar that we visited on the UA beer tour and it had my favorite beer in the city; Unetice 11,5 Zitna Special (rye beer). also great bar snacks! a little outside city center, but easy to get there by metro.
- Czechs invented lager, and most of their beers are pilsner/lagers. you can still find other kinds of beer, but they aren't as common or traditional.
- beer is crazy cheap and most people will have one with every meal (I've been told even breakfast). you can get a small one if you're wary of getting day drunk.
- more foam is better and never, ever scoop it off!
- beer is the most important thing in Czech culture and if you like it at all you should do some research or go on a tour because there is just no way I can accurately convey its importance.

review stuff:

the Czech Inn/ St. Christopher's: stayed at this hostel. big fan of the first name, not so much a fan of them having two names. confusing for the airport shuttle. I stayed in a female dorm and it was big and clean and quiet. there's a bar in the basement that I never went to (see: above beer tour rants). the staff is very friendly and helpful. the internet sucks.
★= 4/5  

Prague public transport: safe, cheap, easy to use.
trams are frequent and very efficient. stops are always announced and displayed, so it's hard to miss. if you end up going in the wrong direction, just hop off and walk across the street- they take the same route both ways. my hostel sold tram tickets and day passes, but you can usually get them at convenience stores nearby stops (if you can't find a ticket machine).
the metro functions pretty much the same way, but obviously you can buy tickets at the stations.
★= 5/5

Good Prague Tours: find all their stuff here. I didn't get to check out the Bone Chapel, but it sounded pretty cool.
★= 5/5

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Czech Tapas tour: find all UA Prague tours here. I really like this company, and they do tours all over the world (of which I've done several).
★= 5/5

as you can tell, there was not much I didn't like about Prague...